Dr. Jason Perlman on Flu Testing and Treatment

Every parent, old or new, knows that the winter season is flu season. While the virus is common, the symptoms can be quite uncomfortable for kids, so we get a lot of parents in with questions, especially regarding flu testing and treatment. This month, Dr. Jason Perlman, our resident ID specialist, weighs in what to know for healing from the flu in 2018.

Jason, you are an ID doctor, what does that mean?

It means that in addition to my pediatric training, I spent 3 years studying infectious diseases (i.e.; bacteria, viruses, funghi, and parasites) and how they interact with children when they cause illness.

Does Tribeca Pediatrics test for flu?

We do not test for flu because by the time symptoms of the virus show up, treatment or management of the illness wouldn’t change. Basically, when you’re sick with the flu, and showing symptoms your doctor will be able to start a treatment plan without waiting for any type of test results.

What is Tamiflu? Does Tribeca Pediatrics administer this treatment for illnesses?

Tamiflu is the standard anti-flu medication. However, we do not treat the flu with this medication. Tamiflu is only effective within 48 hours of a flu diagnosis (when symptoms show up), and is said to shorten the time spent sick by 2 days, if you’re lucky. And the treatment is not without side effects. These include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and delirium. Especially since Tamiflu is only a therapy, not a cure, our doctors haven’t found that the benefits outweigh the side effects.

Does Tribeca Pediatrics test for RSV?

We do not test for RSV. RSV, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a seasonal infection, and is the most common cause of Bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis presents itself as a bad cold, wet cough, fever, and wheezing, especially in children younger than 2 years old. Many viruses can cause Bronchiolitis. Ultimately, treating the condition is what benefits the child, not identifying those symptoms specifically caused by RSV.